WANT TO GO?
Presented by the West Virginia Symphony League
WHERE: University of Charleston riverbank lawn
WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday (Symphony performs at 8 p.m.)
INFO: 304-561-3541 or www.wvsymphony.org
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's a busy week for West Virginia Symphony conductor Grant Cooper. This weekend is the Symphony League's annual Symphony Sunday event, a weekend of activities, food and music that concludes with a performance by the symphony featuring "Symphony Idol" winner Daniel King and a fireworks-filled finale.
Cooper is focused on the symphony's 8 p.m. performance Sunday, but as usual, it's not the only thing on his plate. On this particular afternoon, he was just in after speaking the West Virginia Youth Symphony about music and culture in advance of the group's upcoming European summer tour.
Between breaths, Maestro Cooper chatted with Gazz caught up about this year's New York-themed Symphony Sunday.
Q: What is Symphony Sunday?
A:"Symphony Sunday is a Symphony League event. The theme comes from the league itself, and they have to coordinate not just the music but the other events as well. The league president is responsible for nominating a theme. My job is to find music that works with that.
"In the case of 'New York, New York,' that's an easy assignment. The music naturally lends itself to the repertoire of the symphony. Other themes have been a little bit more difficult."Q: What do you mean by "difficult?"
A:"Well, for instance, the pirates theme, I found that a little difficult. It's not difficult in thinking of music, but difficult in finding orchestral music. With these themes, not only do you have to find something that's appropriate but something arranged for orchestra.
"'New York, New York' was easier because we drew a lot from New York City. New York City is something of a music capital of the world with regards to Broadway. It's also a center of much great jazz music."
Q: Symphony Sunday always features fireworks. What's it like performing with them?
A:"It's surprisingly easy for us to keep time with all the booms. It helps that we have a real sound stage, I think. I've never been in a situation where I've been deafened by them, but I have been in a situation where they've used live cannons. The amount of sound they make is one thing, but they make the whole stage shake."
Q: The symphony plays a lot of music and not everything can be a personal favorite. Are there some songs you like better than others with this show?